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Learner Policy & Procedures

Published Date: April 16, 2021
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Learner Income Support Benefits

Core Essential Benefit


Income and Employment Supports Act, section 5 and 7
Income Support, Training and Health Benefits (ISTHB) Regulation, Schedule 4, sections 2(1-3), 5(1)
Full Time Learners:  Schedules 1, 2, 3 and 4 (Advanced Education)
Full Time Learners: Schedules 1, 2, 3 and 4 (Labour and Immigration)


The Core Essential benefit ensures that learner households have access to essential goods and services.


The Core Essential benefit:

  • may be provided to the eligible learner household,
  • rates are based on the composition of the learner household.

Core Essential rates:

  • are regulated as outlined in Core Essential Payment Tablet of the Income and Employment Supports Act (IESA)
  • cannot be exceeded by Government of Alberta staff or the Income and Employment Supports Appeal Panel.
  • A Child Supplement Allowance (see Benefit Rate Table) is added to the Core Essential for each dependant of a Non-EI learner who is 18 or 19 years old, and who is attending school, as defined under the Education Act.

The Core Essential benefit covers:

  • food (except for a household unit living in an approved home, a group home, a hospital or a nursing home),
  • clothing, including diapers,
  • household needs,
  • personal needs,
  • use of a telephone,
  • laundry,
  • basic transportation,

No additional benefit may be issued for an item covered by Core Essential Benefits unless specific provision is made elsewhere in IESA or the ISTHB Regulation.

Core Essential benefits are pro-rated if the training program start date is after the 10th day of the month.

Parenting Agreement/Order

Where the learner is in compliance with a Parenting Agreement/Order that specifies the number of days that a child resides with the learner, core essential benefits are provided as follows:

  • if the child resides in the learner’s home less than 14 days per month, a prorated core essential benefit, based on the actual number of days that the child is in the learner’s home, is issued;
  • if the child resides in the learner’s home for 14 days or more per month, the full monthly core essential benefit is issued.


An individual must submit a Learner Income Support Application (Full Time Study) or Change in Circumstances form for Learners.


Learner Benefits Coordinator, Learner Income Support Office